Losing a partner is one of the most devastating things a person can experience. It doesn’t matter whether the death was expected or sudden—the feelings of grief are still just as profound. One day you’re married, and the next, you’re alone and grieving.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Best Online Support Groups for Someone Who Lost a Partner
- Tips for Finding an In-Person Support Group
It’s normal to feel anxious about your new future. The memory of someone lives on, but you’re not sure what to do with yourself in the present.
Rationally, you recognize it’s possible to pick up the pieces and resume living again. How do you take that first step towards recovering from grief?
(If you are the executor for your deceased spouse, it's tough to handle both the emotional and technical aspects of their unfinished business without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.)
While friends and family are always a good source of comfort, they might not understand what you’re going through. It’s hard to compare the grief of losing a spouse or partner to the loss of another loved one.
In this case, it’s helpful to turn to those who share your experience. In this guide, we’re sharing the eight best support groups for people who have lost a partner.
Tip: If you need more than a support group, you might consider online therapy or counseling. We reviewed the most popular services, like BetterHelp and Talkspace, in our best online therapy or counseling guide.
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Best Online Support Groups for Someone Who Lost a Partner
Coping with the aftermath of a huge loss like this is often lonely. Despite being surrounded by loved ones, it’s hard to feel heard and understood. Leaning on those who have experienced the same grief as you is an effective way to find comfort.
Because we can’t always find this support in person, the internet is a great way to connect with others. There are a number of online support groups specifically for grief and loss.
When searching for that perfect space in cyberspace, look for key indicators of a healthy, active community. Follow these tips below:
- Effective moderation - Some online communities are unorganized. This isn’t ideal when dealing with strong emotions and real experiences. Make sure your online support group has a strong group of moderators to keep discussions under control.
- Active posts - You don’t want to find yourself in a digital ghost town. Unfortunately, not all support groups last forever. Look for recent posts to ensure your voice will be heard.
- Helpful discussion - Not all groups are helpful. Make sure you feel safe and comfortable in the digital support landscape.
Luckily, we’ve done the hard work for you. Below, you’ll find our top suggestions for online support groups ideal for anyone who has suffered the death of a partner.
1. Grief Support on Reddit
Reddit is an online platform with different subreddits for just about anything you can imagine, including grief. The Grief Support group has over 15,000 active members, and it’s a place to share stories, ask questions, and seek advice.
Reading through the stories and questions of others is an integral part of the grieving process. Learning from others who experienced the same things months or even years ago provides much-needed perspective and assistance in this time of mourning.
However, note this group is for any type of loss, though many members did lose their spouse or significant other.
2. Widowers on Reddit
Another Reddit group that deals with grief, specifically for those who have lost a partner, is Widowers. As the group description states, Widowers is a place for anyone who has lost a companion to share and heal.
With over 5,000 active members, this is a community for coming to terms with powerful feelings and experiences. The moderator’s welcome message sums this group up in a few profound words. They write, “We are as varied as the whole world. Except in our grief. In that, we are united and virtually universal.”
3. Cancer Care Bereavement Group
For those who have lost a spouse or partner to cancer, Cancer Care’s support group is here to help. This is a free, 15-week online support group intended for those who lost a spouse within the past 18 months. An oncology social worker leads the group, ensuring that every user experiences real growth.
Losing a spouse to cancer often feels different than losing a spouse in another way. It comes with unique feelings and methods of coping. Finding others to process this with makes a world of a difference.
4. Soaring Spirits
Soaring Spirits is a secular organization that helps people heal throughout the grieving process. They offer members of the community all the tools they need to get started on their path towards a new life. With both online and in-person opportunities, this is a great resource.
Soaring Spirits has a number of grief programs. From an online forum to a widowed pen pal group, there are a lot of ways to get the help you need. There is no need to be a paying member to use these services.
5. National Widowers Organization
The National Widowers Organization is a way to learn more about how men, in particular, deal with the loss of a partner. With specialized support groups for men, this organization helps men to adjust to a new life without their partner.
All resources are free, and you can even find local meetups with others struggling with life after the loss of a partner. Men often suffer many things alone, but this doesn’t have to be one of them.
6. Open to Hope
Open to Hope is a nonprofit that connects people to stories of grief, loss, and survival. While this isn’t a way to talk to others one-on-one, listening to and reading stories similar to your own is often a form of support in itself.
7. Widows Connection
Widows Connection is a place for women to get the peer-to-peer support they need after losing a spouse. This is something that affects women of all stages of life. Managing these new life changes, whether they include financial or family challenges, is never easy.
Widows Connection includes more than just emotional support. It also has legal, financial, and other practice advice specifically for widowed women. The annual fee costs $40, and it includes access to the full range of support resources.
8. The Sisterhood of Widows
Finally, the Sisterhood of Widows is another great support community for women experiencing the loss of a partner. The goal of this Sisterhood is to help women create a new life after the death of a loved one. It’s a way to connect with others to gain insight into your own grief and loneliness.
The Sisterhood of Widows has several Facebook groups specifically for women. There’s no fee to join. As long as you’re ready to start your path to recovery, the Sisterhood is waiting.
5 Tips for Finding an In-Person Support Group
While an online community is a great way to begin your own emotional healing, it is also beneficial to find in-person support. You might be surprised by just how many groups are available in your area. Here are some tips for finding the right group near you.
Start with the list above
Your first step is to use the list of online groups above. Many of these include an in-person group search feature. The larger, national organizations are often facilitating in-person meetings, especially around larger cities.
Ask local organizations
If you don’t have any luck with the organizations above, think local. In-person grief support groups are typically held at:
- Community centers
- Senior centers
Search online for places and organizations near you to see what they offer. You might also need to call and ask yourself. Don’t feel uncomfortable about asking — it’s common to ask about emotional support groups. They’re more common than you think.
Meetup is an online platform for connecting with others with similar interests. It’s not just used for fun activities and hangouts. Many widow groups post on Meetup to arrange local events, support groups, and more. Search your local area to see what’s near you.
Search “widow support group + your city”
Don’t underestimate the power of a simple Google search. By searching your city name and “widow support group” or “grief support group,” you might find just what you’re looking for. It’s also effective to search for these events on social media as well.
Create your own group
Finally, if you don’t find what you’re looking for, why not start your own group? You don’t have to face these feelings alone. More likely than not, there are others locally who are dealing with a similar type of loss.
They might be waiting for an opportunity to connect with others in the same situation. Reach out to local community centers, churches, and organizations to start your own support group.
Find Peace in Connecting with Others
Dealing with the death of a loved one is never easy. It’s especially challenging when this loved one was a partner or spouse. While books on grief and other resources make sense of those feelings, this is only one side of the story.
Sometimes the best growth happens when you have the opportunity to share your experience with others and feel heard by those who “get it.” A support group is a perfect way to find the right listening ear and to grow your own perspective. Learn from each other and grieve together.